This thesis combines two studies: the role of livestock in the temporal salvation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mormon exodus of 1846 and Cornelius P. Lott's contribution in the care of cattle and sheep during that time period. At Winter Quarters, the Church and its members depended in large measure for their survival upon the sizeable cattle herds they had acquired prior to their exodus from Nauvoo and during their trek across Iowa. Church leaders relied on men like Lott, whose expertise in the care of livestock, contributed significantly to the salvation of the Latter-day Saints. The work investigates the American agriculture and livestock industry in the first half of the nineteenth century for the context in which the Latter-day Saints acquired livestock and subsequently herded them across Iowa. During that time period, Missouri and Illinois had an abundance of good livestock, which contributed to success of the Mormon exodus. After their expulsion from the state of Missouri in 1838, the Church was left destitute of property and had to build up their livestock again. By 1846, they had amassed numerous herds, especially as they made a concerted effort to gather livestock in preparation for their exodus from Illinois. Along the Iowa trail, they continued acquiring cattle in great number by trading many of their possessions with local settlers. As Church leaders had designed, the Latter-day Saints arrived at the Missouri River with thousands of head of livestock. Their herds, particularly cattle, provided a significant lifeline for the Church in both sustenance and trade. Because the Latter-day Saints' livestock was such a precious commodity, Church leaders had to be selective in choosing men to care for the animals. Cornelius P. Lott represents that class of skilled hands who took on such assignments. He joined the Church in 1834 and became recognized by Joseph Smith in 1838 as he played a key role as a leader in the conflict against the Missouri mobs in 1838. He demonstrated his skills with livestock when the Prophet employed him as superintendent of the Smith farm in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith became well acquainted with Lott and favored him with unique privileges, including his participation in sacred temple ordinances, unavailable to most of the Church until later. Such experiences gave Lott opportunity to associate closely with Brigham Young and the Apostles. Hence, when Young sought for trusted men at the Missouri River who could care for the livestock, Lott was a natural choice. This study is valuable to Church history because it shows the importance of livestock and the men who cared for them in contributing to the success of the Mormon exodus and the temporal salvation of the Church. It is important in American history because gives insight into the role of cattle during the westward expansion era.



College and Department

Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine



Date Submitted


Document Type





Cornelius, Lott, cattle, livestock, oxen, herds, agriculture, farming, pioneers, Joseph Smith, Missouri, Nauvoo, Iowa, Winter Quarters